Software – Do I need you?

Dear Software Designers,

You want me to use your software.  You make money when I use you.  How about thinking about me – THE USER – the consumer – the person with the money?

Software companies love subscription services.  Pay me every month, forever.  As a language learner, I have been paying quite a few companies every month to use their software.   Two examples of that are zKorean $5/month to use their dictionary and LingQ $10/month to use their foreign text reader.  Memrise would like me to pay $9/month for their flashcards.

However, there are choices.

I could replace LingQ with FLTR. I could replace zKorean with Naver’s dictionary. I could replace Memrise with Anki.

LingQ redesigned their discussion boards, and I stopped participating in the LingQ community because I disliked the new design.  Now Memrise has made significant changes, and I am considering dropping them as well for their poor redesign.

It isn’t easy to change the software you have made a part of your daily routine.  The more you have stored your own personal data on a site, the harder the switch.  I have thousands of flashcards on Memrise and hundreds of text and audio files in my LingQ lessons.  Yet at this new year, I am considering making changes.

I have resisted developing my own software for studying, but perhaps this will be the year I turn my back on the alternatives which require monthly expenses and change on their whim with little concern for its impact on the user.

Do I need you software?  The answer might very well be NO.

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